Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Wednesday December 20th


The high-light of this afternoons racing, was the victory of Relentless Dreamer at Ludlow.

It took me a few days to get my head round what I was trying to achieve with the Lunchtime Naps – but once the penny dropped, there was no looking back !

The Top Picks were always very popular on the Main Service – and I guess the Lunchtime Nap is now their equivalent.
Simply, they are the horse which I think are most likely to win !

And they have been doing just that, recently – with the last 5 coming home in front.

Ofcourse, it won’t last – it never does.
You need a bit of good fortune in order to win – and eventually that will go missing.
Until that point however, I intend to enjoy it !

The other races on the day didn’t go quite as well – though most of the horses mentioned, ran with credit.

Also at Ludlow, Colins Brother won the handicap chase at 1:20.

He was a drifter this morning – but was backed in again, prior to the off.

Vivaccio wasn’t quite as strong in the late market.
He was sent off at 3/1 – but his BSP of 5, tells a more accurate story.

In the race itself, neither of them travelled particularly well.
However, I was struggling to see any of the other 4 win – so ultimately is wasn’t surprising that Colin’s Brother came through to take the race, with Vivaccio a staying on third.

Over at Newbury, Baden ran well, but couldn’t get past Dingo Dollar.
Whilst I thought the latter set the race standard, I also thought he was beatable.

However, he jumped like an old hand and ultimately, that won him the race.

Tacenda ran a fair race in the mares chasing – trying to make all.
However, she was stalked throughout by her stable companion Ms Parfois and she ending up simply setting things up perfectly for her.

Finally, Bally Gilbert also ran a fair race – but he was no match for Lake Field.
I thought that he might struggle to repeat his last time out win – but he was far more impressive today, looking a horse capable of taking much higher order…

I’m afraid that is probably it on the blog, until next year !

From Saturday onwards, Big races dominate the landscape – and I’ll be covering all of the days between then and the New year, via the write-ups for the Main service.

I’ll also be taking a few days off, straight after the new year, to recover from the period !

It’s therefore likely you be the week commencing 8th Jan before I post anything on the blog – it’s a good job I’ve left you with a few winners !

If you want to make sure you don’t miss the next post (whenever it is !), make sure you follow @thevaluebettor via Twitter (there is a button on the right).

Best wishes to you all, for Christmas and the New Year !


Lunchtime Update

By far the most significant market moves this morning, have taken place in the 1:20 at Ludlow

I did suggests last night, that might be the case – and it certainly has been !

Vivaccio was a general 8/1 shot when I posted yesterday evening – but his price was cut throughout the night.
He was 5/1, first thing this morning – but you now can’t beat 7/2.

If the support is maintained until the off, I would expect him to win.

By contrast, Colins Brother has been quite a drifter.

You couldn’t beat 2/1 last night – but you can now get 3/1 (if you shop around).

It’s never easy to read these kind of markets movements.
I felt both horses were wrongly priced last night – so maybe the market is simple adjusting for that.

I can believe that’s the case with Colin’s Brother – but my guess is that there is more behind the support for Vivaccio…

In the other race of interest on the Ludlow card, Relentless Dreamer remains a 7/1 shot – and that’s too big…

Over at Newbury, Baden has been backed in from 5/1 last night, to 7/2.
Again, I suspect there could be substance to the support (as he has always been a highly regarded animal).

Tacenda is quite weak in the mares chase – and now out to 5/1.
I think that’s a fair price – but it’s an open race, so I couldn’t get carried away with it.

Finally, Bally Gilbert is in to 7/2 in the 2:40 – but that’s on account of a couple of significant non runners – and unfortunately, it is not the horses I would have chosen, who will be absent from the race !

The Lunchtime Nap is quite straight forward, today…
Based on his most recent run, Relentless Dreamer should be favourite to win the 2:30 at Ludlow, not a 7/1 Shot.
Consequently, he has to be the Nap.

Lunchtime Nap: Relentless Dreamer 2:30 Ludlow (Fair Price 7/1)

Evening Preview 

There are 2 NH meetings tomorrow: at Newbury and Ludlow.

The Newbury/Ludlow mid week combo occurs a few times during the season – and they tend to be my favourite mid week days.

Both courses generally put on very good midweek fixtures – and tomorrow is no exception…

At Newbury, the first race of major interest, is the novice handicap chase at 1:30.

This looks an open contest in which most of the runners can be given a chance.

Dingo Dollar looks the solid option – but he also looks beatable.
If forced, I would probably side with Baden – even though you need a forgiving nature to support him !

Hopefully he’ll improve for the step up to 3 miles – and start to fulfil some of his potential…

Of the others, then Cosmos des Obeaux is impossible to assess – but could well be up to winning: whilst Dads in Trouble could be better than his mark – though he does have a lot of weight to carry…

The mares chase at 2:05 is another tough race to call…

I would expect Morello Royale to run well – but she’s the kind of horse who invariable finds one too good.
Trying to figure out which one it will be, is the tricky part.

A case can be made for all of her rivals, but I’d be inclined to side with Tacenda.
She’s the youngest and least experienced member of the field – but has also shown a decent level of form.

She’ll need to improve again to win – but I’m pretty sure she is capable of doing just that…

The handicap chase at 2:40 looks a bit easier to call, than the 2 races which precede it…

I like the look of Bally Gilbert in this, as he put up a decent effort in a better race than tomorrows, on his most recent outing.

If he can repeat that (and there is no reason why he shouldn’t), then he will go very close to winning.

Lake Field has been installed race favourite – but I’d be a little concerned about him ‘bouncing’ after his most recent run.
Bagging Turf strikes me as more of a danger, particularly with a 10lb claimer in the saddle…

There are a couple of handicap chases on the Ludlow card, which are of particular interest…

The first of them is off at 1:20 – and whilst I was initially drawn to Colins Brother, I was quickly put off by his price !

He won the corresponding race last year - and off a mark just 3lb lower.
However, his 3 subsequent runs have been poor – so it’s hard to justify a price of 2/1…

I guess he may bounce back to form – but Nigel Twiston Davies isn’t a trainer who tend to operates in that kind of way.

Nether does Venetia – but she is more than capable of getting one ready after an absence – and Vivaccio is handicapped to win.
I would rather take a risk on him at 8/1 (particularly with Aiden Coleman in the saddle)…

Outside of those 2, it’s not easy to make a strong case for any of the other 4.

Consequently, with question marks over both Colins Brother and Vivaccio, it can’t be a race for maximum confidence.

It is a valuable contest however, so maybe the market will advise in the morning (as I suspect something will have been targeted at it).

The second race of interest, is off at 2:30.

Superficially, this is much easier to solve, as Relentless Dreamer looks very much the one to beat.

He made the well handicapped Audacious Plan really put up a fight last time – and all of the right horses followed the pair home…

Relentless Dreamer was raised 3lb for the run - but that shouldn’t be insurmountable.

The issue, is simply the form of the Rebecca Curtis stable (which almost seems to be in terminal decline).

If Relentless Dreamer doesn’t perform, then there are plenty of alternatives - most of them at the head of the weights.

That said, the market is wise to them all, and I would be more inclined to take a risk on Will o the West at a really big price.
He has lots to prove (including his ability to jump !) – but on hurdles form, he is well handicapped.

Marcilhac was a TVB eye catcher 2 runs ago – but he didn’t get his preferred soft ground last time – and he won’t again tomorrow.

He probably should be watched…

Monday, 18 December 2017

Tuesday December 19th


Enjoy Responsibly ran really well at Fakenham – but could only finish a close up fourth.
Despite having won at the course, it looked a bit sharp for him – particularly over todays trip.

Popelys Gull ran even better – but didn’t quite manage to win (he finished second).

The race was won by favourite, Creep Desbois – who was even backed in to 6/5 !

All in all, it was a frustrating race – though the frustration was only with the result.

Creep Desbois had very little in hand of 3 of his rivals – and I even managed to pick out 2 of those.
Unfortunately, he did have a little in hand – and ultimately that got him home in front…

It was a similar story in the novice chase at Catterick – but with a different ending…

I felt there was little between the 4 runners (ultimately 3) – though it’s impossible to say whether I was right, as 2 of them fell at the fifth last, leaving Almazaar to come home alone…

I felt he was the value call in the race (assuming relatively quick ground).

In novice chases, you should never underestimate the element of ‘randomness’ (caused by jumping frailties)…

Tanarpino got very close to winning the handicap hurdle (traded at 1.13 in running), but was outstayed close home by Buckle Street.

Whilst Las Tunas did travel strongly in the handicap chase (touched 7.2 in running – having been available at around 20 at lunchtime and 15 at the off) – but a couple of poor jumps down the back straight, proved costly.

He briefly threatened to get back into things jumping the third last – but weakened from that point.
He could be of interest next, with the run under his belt…

Lunchtime Update

There is precious little warranting an update, on what is a very quiet day…

The meeting at Fakenham was given the go ahead – and Enjoy Responsibly can be backed at 9/1, in places.
He’s ‘value’ at that price – and Popelys Gull is still worth a saver, at a point bigger…

In the novice chase at Catterick, I still don’t think that there is as much between the 4 runners, as the market suggests…
Alzamaar is probably the best bet in the race, at 11/2 – though if it looks to be riding on the soft side, Shades of Midnight at 10/1 would be an excellent bet.

In the handicap hurdle at 1:50, Tanarpino remains at 6/1 shot.
I couldn’t go mad on him at that price – but it’s probably fair.

Finally, in the 2:50, Las Tunas is a friendless 20/1 shot.
He’s as likely to finish last, as he is to win – but he does have a chance of winning and he should travel nicely in the race.

There is nothing that I feel sufficiently strongly about today, to warrant putting the reputation of the Lunchtime Naps, on the line !
Enjoy Responsibly strikes me as just about the best bet of the day – but all of those mentioned, are more value suggestions, than strong fancies…

As an aside, I’ve created a page, which I will use to record the performance of the Lunchtime Naps.
I’ve been advising them for just over a month now, so it felt like a fair time to take stock of how they have been performing.

If you click on the link at the top of the column on the right, you will find the detail…

Evening Preview 

There are a couple of NH meetings tomorrow: at Catterick and Fakenham – assuming the latter track survives an early morning precautionary inspection…

I’m disinclined to put a lot of time into meetings which may be lost to the weather, so I’ve only looked closely at one of the Fakenham races.

That’s the handicap chase at 1:40, in which Ceep Desbois, has been installed a very short priced favourite…

I can buy into him being favourite – but I’m not sure he’s a 6/4 shot.

The trouble is, these days, price seems less and less relevant – it’s all about finding the winner – and a better case can be made for him, than any of his rivals.

The case revolves around the fact that he’s relatively unexposed – and performed with credit in a better race than tomorrows, last time out, at Ascot.

On the flip side, Fakenham is a quirky track, so he’s not guaranteed to reproduce that form, there…

Rather than side with him, I’d be more inclined to take a risk on Enjoy Responsibly.
He proved that he can handle the course by hacking up on his seasonal debut, 2 runs ago.

Unfortunately for him the handicapper took exception to that and raised him by 15lb.
That may have been too much – as he was well beaten on his most recent run, at Bangor.
However that was over an additional 3 furlongs, so there is also the possibility that he didn’t stay the longer trip…

It’s not a strong race tomorrow, so at 7/1, he could be worth a risk.

Popelys Gull is the other one of interest – and he could also be worth a small saver….

The racing isn’t great over at Catterick – but at least it is likely to take place !

There is a decent Beginners chase at 1:20, in which all 4 runners can be given a chance.

There have been a couple of novice chases recently which I felt looked open – and which were won by a horse who has drifted to a silly price (Sceau Royal and Kalondra).

It’s certainly worth keeping an eye out for those kind of drifts (if possible) – as when the market takes against some of these horses, there is definitely ‘value’ to be had.

Unfortunately, the ground may be riding quick at Catterick – and that could be a good reason to oppose horses.

I could certainly fancy the outsider in this field: Shades of Midnight – but he is a horse who is at his best when there is significant cut in the ground.

Quick ground would probably suit Alzammar best – and he would be worthy of consideration, if his price drifted out to 6/1+…

In the following race on the card, I’m most interested in Tanarpino…

He caught my eye on his seasonal debut 12 months ago, when running a blinder over fences at Carlisle.

That was off a mark of 126 – so off a mark of 121 tomorrow, he is handicapped to win.

He’s running over hurdles now – but I’m not sure that will make a lot of difference.
He’s certainly performed reasonably over the smaller obstacles on his 3 runs so far this season.

He sports cheek pieces for the first time tomorrow, having run in snatches on his most recent outing.

It’s not a race you can be adamant about – but at 6/1, he looks a fair shout…

The final race of interest on the card, is the handicap chase at 2:50.

I turned this one round a few times – and came to the conclusion that there was no stand out candidate !

At a price, I might be inclined to take a small risk on Las Tunas.

He’s the youngest runner in the field – but has plenty of experience.
However, most of that was gained in his native France – with him only moving to the UK, 12 months ago.

He didn’t do too badly last season – but it can take some horses a little while to acclimatise and if that is the case with him, he may be able to move his form to a higher level, this campaign.

Clearly, he’s risky – as he’s also making his seasonal debut.
However, he tends to travel strongly in his races, so I suspect that if you back him pre-race, you should be able to lay him in running and get a free bet to find out whether he has improved over the summer !!

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Wednesday December 14th


For the third time in 10 days, Our Merlin absolutely bolted up.

He ran off a mark of 103 today – and a 15 length win, suggests he could be competitive from around 120.

I get a similar impression from just watching him, so it will be fascinating to see how far he does progress.

That said, he’s apparently going to be given a bit of a rest now, so it could be a few weeks before we next get sight of him…

Here’s Herbie was the best backed of the 3 outsiders of interest, in the 2:10 – and he ran a decent race to finish fourth.
He’s could certainly be of interest next time…

Top Notch was a comfortable winner of the Peterborough Chase.
It’s hard not to be taken by the horse – as he’s quite small, but a real trier.

Finally, Dream Bolt provided the blog with its fourth consecutive winning Lunchtime Nap.

He looked quite obvious to me – and whilst it’s arguable that Couer Tantre threw the race away, Dream Bolt was still there to take advantaged of that ones slightly wayward tendencies.

In a 6 horse race, I’m not sure how he was sent off at 6/1 – but I’ll take it, all the same 😀

It’s been another short week on the blog, but with racing at Cheltenham tomorrow, my attention will now switch to the Main service.

I would expect to be blogging on at least a couple of days next week – so make sure you tune in to see if the winning run of the Lunchtime Naps can continue !!

Until then…

Lunchtime Update

There’s not a great deal to update on, from Taunton

Overnight rain has changed the going slightly, and it’s now soft – good to soft in places and this has resulted in a few non runners…

In the 1:35, Our Merlin has been very strong in the market – and is now a 6/4 shot.
For those preferring a bigger price, Whin Park remains the best alternative, at 12/1…

Non of the 3 outsiders of potential interest (Here’s Herbie, Justification and Caviar Dallen) have been backed in the 2:10 – making them less interesting !

Molineaux has been backed – but probably because Andy Holding has tipped him.

Maybe the market will reveal more, closer to the off…

Top Notch remains a 2/5 shot – and remains the most likely winner of the Peterborough chase.
Ptit Zig has been supported against him – and that’s something I would keep an eye on…

Finally, Workbench and Notarfbad have been taken out of the 3:15 – and Dream Bolts priced has contracted as a consequence.
That’s a shame, as I was more than happy to take on both of them.

Dram Bolt still look s the best bet on the card however – and is therefore the Lunchtime Nap.

Lunchtime Nap: Dream Bolt 3:15 Taunton (Fair Price 5/1)

Evening Preview 

After the brief, weather enforced hiatus, NH racing is back tomorrow…

There are 4 meetings scheduled: at Taunton, Warwick and Newcastle in the UK – plus Tramore in Ireland.

Both Warwick and Newcastle need to survive early morning inspections – and if they do, the ground is likely to be desperate at both tracks…

Regardless, the days best racing takes place at Taunton – and whilst the current ‘good to soft’ ground may ease a little before racing starts, it shouldn’t get any worse than ‘soft’…

The first race of interest, is the 1:35 – and this sees the third appearance in 10 days of Our Merlin…
He was a winning Lunchtime nap, a week last Monday: and followed up under a penalty, 3 days ago…
Following his first win, the official assessor raised his mark 17lb – and he will be in for a further rise, after his latest victory.

In the circumstances, it’s not surprising that connections are choosing to run him again – even under a 14lb penalty.
Clearly he is very difficult to assess – both because of the ease of his victories – and because it’s impossible to know if the recent races have left a mark.

From a pure handicapping perspective, he should win (nothing else in the field will be as far ahead of its mark) – so arguably 2/1 is not a bad price…

The other interesting aspect about the race, is that most of his main challengers contested a race run last month, over tomorrows course, won by Tobacco Road.
If Our Merlin can cope with Tobacco Road, he can probably handle the others from that race…

The only other dangers I can see, are Master Vintage and Whin Park.
The latter, in particular, looks a decent bet at 16/1 – and could prove to be the one that Our Merlin has to fear most…

The 2:10 features an official TVB eye catcher in the shape of Quarenta.
However, connections appear to be working on his handicap mark – so unless he is subject to significant support, I would be inclined to leave him alone.

In truth, it’s a hard race to call.
Of the market leaders, I like the chances of Molineaux best – but 4/1 is too tight, in such an open contest.

If I were to get involved with the race, I’d be more inclined to take a risk on an outsider.
Here’s Herbie, Justification and Caviar Dallen, can all be backed at 25/1+ this evening – and a case of sorts can be made for each of them.

Any support for them tomorrow, would add to their attraction…
The days main event, is the re-scheduled Peterborough Chase – and it’s no surprise to see Top Notch installed a very short priced favourite (2/5).

He was impressive last time at Ascot, in a better race - and is certainly the most likely winner tomorrow.

2/5 feels a bit short, when both Ptit Zig and Josses Hill have theoretical chances of beating him.
That said, he’ll probably win…

The handicap chase at 3:15 may provide the best betting opportunity of the day…

Dream Bolt is a horse I like – and he’s a horse who tends to be at his best, on his first 2 races after a break…

His most recent run was at Newbury, 12 days ago – after 5 months off the track.
That was in a better race than tomorrows - and he ran really well to finish fourth.

The handicapper has dropped him a pound for the run – and James Bowen takes over in the saddle, claiming 5lb…
I think he can win tomorrow – and 8/1 is a good price.

Blanford Gunner is sufficiently well handicapped to be a danger – so it is probably worth saving stakes on him.

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Monday December 11th


The money never materialised for Leo Luna and he was sent off a 12/1 shot (nearly 14/1 on BF).

In fairness, he didn’t run badly – looking as if he would come on for the outing (which is effectively what the market was saying).

He could very easily win a similar race - but he is a horse who will be well backed before he does win…

Our Merlin dotted up in the next race on the card (2:45).
He was an easy winner last week, when I made him the Lunchtime Nap – but his victory was even more comprehensive today.

He looked completely different class to his rivals - and it will be interesting to see how the handicapper reacts to the performance (I wouldn’t be surprised to see him raised the best part of 20lb).

Finally, Bound Hill ran just the race I expected in the 3:15.

Jumping from fence to fence, he traded at almost even money before Le Couer Net fell – and as low as 1.3, once that rival had departed.

However, stamina is not his strong suit – and he couldn’t get home in the very heavy ground.

Hopefully one or two found a way to make him pay, regardless…

The meeting scheduled for Uttoxeter tomorrow has already been abandoned – and whilst racing may take place at Ayr  (there is an early morning inspection), it’s uninspiring stuff, so I’m taking the day off…

I’ll make a decision on Wednesday, at some point tomorrow (the fixtures for that day are also in doubt).

The deep mid-winter hey – who needs it ?!

Lunchtime Update

Swathes of non runners have made a bit of a nonsense of some of the races at Fontwell

The 2:15 has not been affected – but there has been no support for Leo Luna and that tempers enthusiasm for his chances.
I guess the money might come late, but I think it will need to, if he’s going to win…

Our Merlin remains around even money for 2:45 – and that remains a fair price.
I think his chance of winning is similar to a coin toss…

The 3:15 has been decimated and now only 4 go to post.
The will greatly improve the chances of Bound Hill (and not just because he has less rival to beat !).

However, he’s now a 5/2 shot and I would be worried about both his jumping and his ability to get home.
He should still make a decent IR play though (I wouldn’t be surprised to see him trade odds on).

I’m just not feeling it with the Lunchtime Nap today – too much uncertainty.

It may be a similar story for the rest of the week – but if that is the case, then so be it. It’s a long old season, no need to force things…

Evening Preview 

It’s the first day of what could be a quiet week, racing wise, as the winter weather wreaks havoc with the planned fixtures…

Tomorrows meeting at Musselburgh has been lost to frost – leaving Fontwell as the sole surviving NH meeting.

They have put on a fair card, for a Monday – with a few reasonably interesting races…

The first of those is at 2:15, when Ramses de Teillee attempts to follow up his recent win at Chepstow.
He was massively impressive that day, on his first run over fences.
However the handicapper hasn’t missed him, as he’s been raised 15lb.
More than that, the tight turns of Fontwell are going to present a very different challenge to the galloping straights of Chepstow.
He may get away with it – but at 5/4 I’m inclined to look elsewhere…

Fergal Mael Duin is certainly an option – though I’m more attracted to Leo Luna.
He’s handicapped to win – and was declared for some better quality races over the weekend past.
He didn’t take up any of those engagements, so the fact he’s running at Fontwell on a Monday, may be significant.

If it is, he will be backed – so you can either take a risk and back him early (at 6/1) or wait to see if the support materialises (if it does, he’s likely to end up half that price !)…

Our Merlin makes a quick reappearance in the following race on the card (2:45).
He was a winning Lunchtime Nap, last week – and I’m not surprised to see connections getting him out under a penalty (as he’s likely to be raised more than the 7lb impost that he carries tomorrow).
Tomorrows race looks a little bit tougher than last weeks, as he faces 2 or 3 potentially interesting rivals.
Against that, he did dot up last week, suggesting he is very well handicapped.

He’s been put in this evening at around even money – which strikes me as the right kind of price.
I’ll make a call on him tomorrow lunchtime…

The third race of interest on the card, is the handicap chase at 3:15.
This looks relatively open, despite Stoical Patient having been installed quite a short priced favourite.
She definitely has a chance – but I’m not sure she should be as short as 2/1…

I’m more attracted to Mr Bachster at 7/1  - provided the ground is heavy (which I expect it to be).
He’s back down to his last winning mark – and a couple of runs this season, should have put him spot on.

I also quite like Bound Hill.
He should make a decent in-running play (as he tends to lead – and travel well) – assuming his jumping holds up (he can make the odd mistake).

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Wednesday December 6th


Sainte Ladylime unshipped Noel Fehily at Haydock – which was a bit irritating.
There was a question mark concerning her jumping – but Haydock is a relatively easy course to jump round, so I thought she would get away with it.
I was wrong…

I was right about Buster Thomas though.
He ran quite a nice race – but was well beaten when falling at the last.

There should be other days for him…

It was case of job done, with Granville Again…
His BSP was 19.35 – and he touched 7 in running, before his stamina gave out.

It’s good to remember that there are many ways to skin a cat…

Of course, the easiest way, is just backing to win – and those who did that with One for Harry, will be feeling suitably pleased…

As I said last night – with a straight bat, he was the most likely winner of the race.
In the circumstances, an SP of 5/1 (6/1 earlier), can be considered generous…

Over at Ludlow, Heavenly Promise fell before we could learn anything about him…

The mares hurdle went pretty much as expected, with Marias Benefit too good for Late Night Lily – and Midnight Jazz, well beaten.

The handicap chase also went generally as expected, with Audacious Plan coming home in front and thereby landing the third Lunchtime Nap of the week (yet another hurray !).

Crystal Lad also managed to get placed in the same race – so overall, it was a good result…

I’m sure you’ll all be disappointed to hear that there will be no blog tomorrow – and probably no blog on Friday either…

I’m off to Market Rasen tomorrow – so won’t have time to do it all justice.
Whilst on Friday, I’ll be preparing for another busy weekend…

Hopefully you’ve all done OK this week – it’s certainly been a fair bit better than last week !

All things being equal, I’ll be back blogging early next week.
Until then…

Lunchtime Update

Buster Thomas has been very well backed at Haydock – which is interesting, considering he appears to have quite a task, at the weights…

Sainte Ladylime has maintained her position in the market – and I still prefer her chances…

Granville Island is drifting nicely  in the handicap chase – the bigger the SP, the better, with him !
Obviously, I don’t know what price he will reach in running – but I would have thought something around 4. would be feasible…

In the finale, the 2 outsiders have received some support against  One for Harry – but not sufficient to really set alarm bells ringing.
Of course, there is still plenty of time for that – but I’m going to play it with a straight bat, and stick with Harry…

At Ludlow, Heavenly Promise is a major drifter - which isn’t a big surprise.
I’ll still be watching him very carefully …

Midnight Jazz is also a major drifter – which again, doesn’t surprise me.
There is too much for her to overcome today, for her to be well backed…

Finally, Audacious Plan isn’t as strong in the market as I expected.
I suspect that is partially because he was put in too short last night – and the value seekers are looking to find one to beat him.

I think he was backed late, last time – and that could easily be the case again today.
I still make him by far the most likely winner – and 5/2 is a fair price…

There are 3 possibles for todays Lunchtime Nap: Sainte Ladylime, One for Harry and Audacious Plan.
I think Harry is the best bet, at 6/1 – however, I think Audacious Plan is the likeliest of the 3, to win…

Lunchtime Nap: Audacious Plan 2:05 Ludlow (Fair price 5/2) 

Evening Preview 

There are a couple of NH meetings again tomorrow; at Haydock and Ludlow.

And as with today, they are reasonable meetings, with a few interesting races at each…

There are even a couple of official TVB eye catchers running – so definitely something to look out for !

The first of them is Buster Thomas, who runs at Haydock, in the novice chase at 1:20.
He caught my eye last time at Exeter, when travelling strongly and jumping well – until making a mistake and running out of gas !

I like the fact he is dropping back in trip tomorrow – and I think Haydock will suit him.
However, he is contesting a conditions race – and isn’t favoured by the conditions ! (I would have preferred to see him in a handicap).
Also, he is likely to have competition for the lead, from Robin of Locksley.

He may be able to overcome the second issue – but I’m not so sure about him overcoming the first…

He has to give 2lb to Saint Ladylime – yet she is rated 2lb superior to him.
Couple that with the likelihood of the race being run to suit her better – and he becomes difficult to side with.

I think Saint Ladylime is the most likely winner – though a case could be made for most of the runners…

Just Georgie looks the most likely winner of the 2:25 – but she’s already favourite and it’s a tight handicap.
I’d probably be more inclined to back and lay, Granville Again…

He may not have the stamina to get home – but he’s a traveller, so could well trade quite short in running.

I could be quite keen on One for Harry is the finale – though I’ve not completely decided yet !
Part of the reason is because I think the 2 market leaders are vulnerable, off career high marks on the back of last time out wins.

He, on the other hand, is on his last winning mark – and dropping down in grade.

Its’afreebee and Aniknam, both look as if they could have physical issues (though both are dangerously well handicapped if they are right): Whist Quids in and Iolani have plenty to prove (but scope for improvement)…

There is no doubt that One for Harry is the solid option – I would just be fearful if one of the outsiders was particularly well backed…

Over at Ludlow, at quick mention for Heavenly Promise, who contests the novice handicap chase at 1:00.

He’s 5lb wrong in the weights – and has little form to recommend him – but he’s bred to be different class to today’s rivals and it’s still early days…

Again, the market may advise with him (though it may not !)

I can’t figure out the mares hurdle at 1:30.
Midnight Jazz is probably he best horse in the race – but she’s small, to be carrying top weight – particularly on her seasonal debut.

Marias Benefit may be the answer – but she’s an inexperienced novice and so difficult to assess.

Late Night Lily sets the standard – but probably won’t be quite good enough…

A watching race, I think !

Crystal Lad is the second eye catcher running on the afternoon, in the 2:05 race.
He caught the eye on his penultimate run at Plumpton, before disappointing last time at Sandown.
His jumping was the issue that day – and Ludlow is an easier course to jump round.
That said, it’s layout is similar to Sandown - and I’m not sure that’s ideal for him.
Also, he is stepping up markedly in trip – and whilst that may suit him. it may not…

To be honest, it could all be immaterial because I suspect Audacious Plan is going to take some beating.
He had been installed ante post favourite for a big race at Sandown on Saturday – so the fact he is running at Ludlow instead seems highly significant.
He is also the only ride on the day for Brian Hughes (subtle signs !).

More than all that, he still looks handicapped to win.
He won last time out at Sedgefield – but arguably that was as stronger race than tomorrows – and he’s only 5lb higher.

The issue will be the price. He was backed into 6/4 last time – and I can see the same thing happening tomorrow…

In terms of rivals, then aside from Crystal Lad (who may be capable of placing), only Dueling Banjos and Moss on the Mill, look as if they have much chance of spoiling the party…

Monday, 4 December 2017

Tuesday December 5th


There was plenty of woodwork rattling at Southwell, with Ronnie Lawson, Bad Boy du Pouldu and Raz de Maree, all finishing second…

There can be little doubt that Ronnie Lawson was meant to win the opener.
Backed in to 2/1 at the off, Dickie tried to make every post a winning one and was only caught after jumping the last…

My reading of the novice handicap chase was spot on, with the 3 confirmed front runners, doing each other, no favours…
That played perfectly in to the hands of Bad boy du Pouldu – but Nightfly pounced even later, and took the spoils.

Raz de Maree bumped into one in the handicap hurdle.
Red Rising did have that kind of profile – and whilst he could have been backed at 9/2 last night, his SP of 9/4 suggested someone meant business.

He was made to fight for his win by Bobo Mac – but I still think he would have won even if that one hadn’t taken a fall at the second last. I suspect he will be able to handle a step up in grade...

At Lingfield, Clayton landed the second successive Lunchtime Nap (hurray, again !).
It was a straight battle between him and Sea Wall, all the way up the straight – and he was just strong enough to prevail.

Finally, Allthegear no Idea didn’t show much in the veterans chase.
The finish was fought out by the 3 greys in the field – which made for quite a sight (particularly in December  - if you are that way inclined !).

Lunchtime Update

There have been some very interesting market moves in the first 2 races at Southwell

In the opener, Ronnie Lawson has been well backed (into 9/4) – and usurped Irish Octave at the head of the market.

The race looks to be between the 2 of them – and Irish Octave is now quite tempting, at 11/4…

Castletown has been really well backed in the 12:50.
The interesting thing with him is that a pace war will suit.

I think the money could be significant (which isn’t always the case with morning gambles).

There’s not much to report in the 1:50: with Skipthecuddles and Raz de Maree just trimmed the mandatory point or two…

At Lingfield, there has been money for Dinsdale in the 2:30, which I didn’t foresee…

His chance doesn’t look that obvious…

Whilst not much of interest, betting-wise, has occurred in the market for the veterans chase.

I’m very tempted by Irish Octave as the Lunchtime Nap, as I think the market has probably over-reacted to the possibility of Ronnie Lawson.
However, I’m going to stick with my original plan and suggest Clayton – despite the support for Dinsdale.

Lunchtime Nap: Clayton Lingfield 2:30 (Fair Price 7/2) 

Evening Preview 

The are a couple of NH meetings tomorrow: at Southwell and Lingfield – and the quality of the racing takes a surprising step upwards…

In fact, the Southwell card is as good as I can recall seeing there – with 2 or 3 very decent races…

The opening contest (12:20) isn’t the best - but it might be the easiest to work out !
Irish Octave is the obvious  one, chasing a 4 timer – but I think he could be vulnerable…
The trouble is, he has little to beat – except perhaps for Ronnie Lawson…

He’s an ex PTP winner, who has acquired a handicap mark over hurdles – and now switches to fences.
He could easily be well handicapped over fences – and if he is, he’s likely to win.
4/1 tonight is a fair price, for the risk…

The 12:50 is a really good race – a fair bit better than you normally see at Southwell.
There are 4 or 5 potentially decent novice chasers up against each other – so it will take a bit of winning.
I have a feeling that tactics could be crucial – as the top 3 in the market all won last time, from the front.
More than that, I suspect all 3 need to lead, to be seen at their best…

We saw at Newbury on Friday, that such a situation can be overcome – but Newbury is a much wider course than Southwell – and I think there will be issues tomorrow.
In the circumstances, I can’t be with Eyesopenwideawake (who I think will lead), Get Rhythm or Cracking Find.
Instead, I’ll side with Bad boy du Pouldu.
He was beaten by Eyeopenwideawake, last time – but may be able to reverse the form tomorrow, if the race unfolds as I expect…

There’s another really good race at 1:50 – and Raz de Maree is a bizarre runner in it…
He’s an Irish trained 3 mile chaser, who likes the mud: so what he’s doing in the UK over hurdles on decent ground, is anyones guess !
He’s well handicapped though – which makes him potentially dangerous…

Ignoring him (!) I like Skipthecuddles best – but there are 4 or 5 others who could also be of interest, in the race…

Things aren’t quite so competitive at Lingfield

Superficially, Sea Wall looks the one to be with him the 2:30 – but it also looks to me as if he’s handicapped to the limit of his ability…
He may get away with it if non of his rivals are well handicapped – but if they are, he’s beatable…

Looking through the runners, his most dangerous opponent seems to be Clayton.
He is potentially well handicapped  - if he can refind his form.
I thought there was plenty of promise in his most recent run at Fontwell and he could prove too hot for Sea Wall…

Finally, there’s a veterans chase at 3:00 (2 in 3 days – and I though it was still 3 weeks to Christmas !).
This is a slightly odd one however, in that most of the runners look past it (not putting it too politely !).
The exception is Allthegear no Idea – but, bizarrely, he’s still a maiden over fences…

He may be able to change that situation tomorrow – though it does look a slightly dangerous race to be betting in…

Sunday, 3 December 2017

Monday December 4th


Jester Jet was a very easy winner of the 1:40 at Plumpton

She drifted to11/2 at the off – which I find quite bizarre, as she clearly had the strongest form in the race.

Tambura was sent off at 9/2 – but found everything happening a bit too quickly.
She needs more of a stamina test than she got today…

Having been incredibly strong in the morning market, Flight Commander was incredibly weak, just before the off.
Generally they are the more indicative moves – and he ran a very laboured race.

Like Sully was strong in the market, right to the off – but an early mistake put him on the back foot and he never featured…

Our Merlin landed the Lunchtime Nap (hurray !).
That said, I was a little concerned when his price started to drift, in the face of sustained support for Be Daring.

However, I needn’t have worried, as he absolutely bolted up – and the SP of 9/4, was just a bonus…

Finally, Ulis de Vassy got the early lead at Fakenham – and was soon trading at half his BSP (which was 13.6).
He actually touched a low of 5.1 – but then fell…

Whether he would have been good enough to win, I’ve no idea – but at least the damage was minimal…

Lunchtime Update

Jester Jet is quite weak in the market at Plumpton (1:40).
I doubt there is any reason for that and at 7/2 (4/1 on BF), she is worth a small play.

In contrast, Tambrua is relatively strong in the betting.
There may be something in that - but then again, there may not !
It could be worth covering Jester Jet stakes on her – just in case...

Like Sully has been well backed in the 2:40.
He was 16/1 in a place last night – but you’ll struggle to beat 7/1 now.
That said, favourite Flight Commander, has been backed as if defeat is out of the question.
The strength of support behind him, would temper confidence in anything else…

I thought Our Merlin was short enough in the betting at 3/1 last night – but I was wrong !
You can get 7/4 in a couple of places now – if you act fast !

He’s actually a fair bit more attractive now, because it doesn’t look as if any of his rivals are seriously fancied.
You invariably need an idea of how the betting is going, to tackle any of these low grade races with confidence.

I suspect he’ll take a bit of beating…

Finally, at Fakenham, Ulis de Vassy is weak in the market – which is a good thing, as it gives more scope for in running plays…
I’m pretty confident he will lead – and if he does, laying him in running shouldn’t be an issue.

I actually think that he’s got half a chance of winning – so I’d be inclined to recover stakes and have a ‘free’ bet on him…

As for the Lunchtime Nap – then despite the price, I have to go with Our Merlin…

Lunchtime Nap: Our Merlin 3:10 Plumpton (Fair Price 7/4)

Evening Preview 

There are a couple of NH meetings tomorrow: at Plumpton and Fakenham…

After a weekend of high class action, it’s back down to earth with a bump !

It really is pretty desperate stuff at both courses - with Fakenham in particular, putting on a woeful card.

Despite that, I’ve  spent a bit of timing look through the races, to see if I can find anything of interest - to help speed up the passage of a Monday afternoon, in winter…

The best race of the day takes place at Plumpton, at 1:40.
It’s a mares handicap hurdle – and 3 or 4 can be given a chance.
I like the look of Jester Jet best, as she was arguably a little unlucky not to win at Ascot, last time.
Off a mark just 1lb higher – and with that run under her belt, she should go very close.

The other one of major interest, is Tambura.
She’s won the past 2 renewals of this race – and has clearly been targeted at a hatrick of success.
She’s actually 3lb lower in the handicap than 12 months ago – and must rate a fair bet at the 8/1 available this evening…

In the 2:40 race, I give Like Sully a better chance than his odds suggest (16/1).
He was ridiculously weak in the betting on his seasonal debut at Chepstow (100+ on BF) – and whilst he finished unplaced that day, I felt there was some promise in the run.
He’s been dropped 5lb – which puts him on an attractive mark. He’s also won over tomorrows course.
The trip is a question mark, but he should travel OK, so may be suitable for an in running play…

Our Merlin is the most interesting horse in the 3:10 – but unfortunately, he’s not escaped the attention of the odds compilers (3/1).
He would have gone close last time, over tomorrows course, if he’d not unshipped his jockey at the third last.
That was a poor race – but tomorrows is not much better.
He gets to run off the same mark – and looks the one to beat…

I can only find one horse of interest at Fakenham

In the 3:00 race, I’m half interested in Ulis de Vassy.
At his prime, he was rated 40lb higher than the mark he runs off tomorrow.
Clearly he’s not the force he used to be, but there was distinct promise in his last time out run at Sedgefield.
That was on the back of an absence, so he may be able to build on it.

He wears first time cheek pieces tomorrow – and they will almost certainly result in him leading.

That tends to be an advantage round Fakenham – so even if he he’s not capable of hanging on, he’s another who should be suitable for an in running play.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017

Thursday November 30th


Whos my Jockey ran a good race at Towcester – but was no match for Bastien.
He was one of the nominated dangers – and was well backed early.
Support for him dried up, close to the off – but it didn’t prevent him from coming home a decisive winner…

In the previous race on the card, Some Finish rewarded sustained support.
He was 8/1 early last night: 7/2 first thing this morning: 3/1 at lunchtime – and 9/4 at the off !
Confidence like that is rarely misplaced…

One of Us was a bit keen at Taunton – and paid the price late on.
He’ll be of more interest next time; whilst Captain Buck’s was no match for Lovely Job, in the novice handicap chase.

It was interesting to see that the winner was backed in to 5/4 at the off (the price he was last night), having drifted to 7/4 at lunchtime…

Affair D’Honneur was weak in the market at Musselburgh – which is always a concern when a horse is returning after an issue.
He never looked comfortable in the race and finished well beaten.

You would need to see him show something, before you could consider following him.

By contrast, Silver Concorde was very strong (he too was returning after issues) – and he duly bolted up in the novice hurdle.
There are certain situations, where you really do have to listen to the market…

That’s it for the blog this week, I’m afraid…
It’s not been the best of weeks (racing wise – or preview wise !) – but that can happen when you reach the depths of winter…

There’s a busy weekend ahead - starting tomorrow at Newbury – and I’ll be covering that fully for the main service.

Meanwhile, blog reader have got the joys of  Fakenham, Plumpton, Southwell and Lingfield to look forward to on Monday and Tuesday !

Have a good weekend !!

Lunchtime Update

Whos my Jockey has been surprisingly weak at Towcester.
It is a competitive race – but I suspect the main reason is because he was put in too short, last night.
He’s out to 3/1 now – in the face of support for Bastien and Now McGinty (the latter has been tipped by Andy Holding).
That’s quite a tempting price…

Conversely, Some Finish has been subject to significant support in the 1:10.
He was at least 8/1 in a place, last night – but you’ll struggle to beat 3/1 now.
As always, the key will be whether the support is maintained to the off…

At Taunton, One of Us has been stronger in the market than Silent Steps.
However, the key market movements are likely to come closer to the off.

Captain Buck’s has remained relatively solid in the market, as support has come for Joe Farrell.
I do like him – but Rebecca Curtis is struggling a bit atm – which is off putting.
Lovely Job is weak in the market – but as with Whos my Jockey, that’s probably because he was put in too short, last night.

At Musselburgh, Affaire D’Honneur is in to 11/8 – helped by a couple of non runners.
He looks very solid though.

Similarly, Silver Concorde is now odds on (4/6) from even money last night.
There is no doubt that he could be different class to his rivals – and the market vibes suggest that he’s ready to do a job…

Unlike the past few days, there are a good few options for the lunchtime Nap.
I was hoping to go to Musselburgh for Affair D’Honneur or Silver Concerde – but both have been backed a bit too short this morning (though I do think both are the most likely winners).

Instead, I’m going to go to Towcester and take on the most competitive race of the day !
I think Whos My Jockey is going to take a lot of beating – and 3/1 is now a reasonable price.

Lunchtime Nap: Whos my Jockey 1:40 Towcester (Fair Price 3/1)

Evening Preview 

There are 4 NH meetings tomorrow: at Towcester, Taunton and Musselburgh in the UK – plus Thurles in Ireland.

I was maybe a little harsh in my earlier assessment of tomorrows racing.
It’s reasonable enough, for a midweek – with at least a couple of races of interest, at each of the UK courses (midweek racing in Ireland is generally a minefield best avoided – from a betting perspective, anyway !).

The best race of the day, probably takes place at Towcester, at 1:40.

It’s a really competitive handicap hurdle, in which last time winners of 3 decent events (for the grade), lock horns, in the shape of Brown Bear, Tempuran and Golan Future.
They are opposed by a couple of other interesting sorts, in Bastien and Now McGinty.
However, all 5 could be eclipsed by Who’s my Jockey.

He’s only 4 and carries a fair amount of weight, for winning a novice hurdle at Uttoxeter, last time – however, I suspect he could be up to the job…

It seems significant that Richard Johnson is riding at Towcester, when Philip Hobbs runs a few fancied ones at Taunton – and I suspect Who’s my Jockey, is the main reason…

The previous race on the card 1:10 is a poor event - and Classic Jewel has been installed a short priced favourite.
However, I’m quite interested in Some Finish.
He’s been badly out of form – but his handicap mark has now dropped to a point from which he can win.
The application of cheekpieces for the first time is interesting: as is the booking of Jack Quinlan (replacing a 7lb claimer).
He’s a risky one – but he certainly had the ability to win, if the changes can rekindle the old flame (and interestingly, he’s been backed, this evening).

The best race on the Taunton card, is probably the novice handicap hurdle, at 1:20.

Silent Steps has been installed favourite, on his first run for Paul Nicholls – and on the form of his final outing last season, that’s quite understandable.
That was at Ayr, where he finished second to Beer Goggles in a decent 15 runner handicap.
The winner is now rated 30lb higher than he was that day, so Silent Steps was clearly facing an impossible task.
By contrast, his mark has only been raised 1lb, so if he’s fit enough to do himself justice, he’s likely to take a lot of beating…

The other one of major interest in the race, is One of Us.
He’s also making his seasonal debut – but was very well backed on his penultimate outing last season, suggesting that connections think he’s a well handicapped horse.

I would expect the market to advise on which one of the pair is most likely to come out on top tomorrow…

Chasing debutante, Captain Buck’s interests me most in the next race on the card (1:50).
He’s got some decent hurdles form – and Nicholls horses generally jump well on their chasing debuts – particularly the younger ones (and he’s only 5).

Lovely Job has been installed favourite - but there must be a chance that Fergal O’Brien’s horses will get over backed at the moment, because he is having such a good run (and it can’t last forever !).

There are a couple of very interesting horses running at Musselburgh

The first is Affaire D’Honneur, who contests the novice handicap chase at 2:00.
He finished fourth in both the Betfair hurdle and the Imperial cup, the season before last – before disappointing last season.
However, he apparently had a back issue, for which he received treatment over the summer.
If that’s done the trick, then he should prove far too good for tomorrows opponents, as he’s dropped nearly a stone in the ratings.
It certainly seems significant that Harry Whittington sends him all the way to Musselburgh to run (presumably in search of decent ground).

Silver Concorde makes his debut for Keith Dalgleish in the next race (2:30).
He won the 2014 champion bumper at the Cheltenham festival, when under the care of Dermot Weld.
His career over hurdles hasn’t gone to plan – but he’s still got better form over hurdles than any of tomorrows rivals.
Again, if he’s back to anywhere near his best, I would expect him to win – and win easily…

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Wednesday November 29th


For completeness, a quick review of todays action…

At Wetherby, Secrete Stream was disappointing in the novice chase: never threatening to get to all the way winner, Captain Chaos.
It was a step backwards from his seasonal debut, at Carlisle…

Strawberry Spirit ran a fair race to finish fifth in the bumper – though she never looked likely to win...

At Hereford, Kings Tempest showed virtually nothing in the opener.
Warren Greatrex won’t be sleeping easy tonight !

More seriously, it’s difficult to know where they go with the horse now, as everything appeared to be thrown at him today.
I wouldn’t be surprised, if his next outing was for a different stable…

Tomorrows racing does look a little better – but it’s not the step improvement that I was hoping for !

Roll on the weekend and some decent action..!! 

Lunchtime Update

There’s nothing to report, in terms of price moves this morning, for todays horses of ‘interest’ – all have remained relatively stable in the market...

I don’t honestly feel that any of them warrant being napped – so there’ll be no Lunchtime Nap today – sorry !

I’m sure tomorrow will bring better…

Evening Preview 

There are 3 NH meetings tomorrow, at Wetherby and Hereford in the UK – plus Punchestown in Ireland.

However, there is precious little to get excited about – and if I’d not committed to offering some views on the day, I wouldn’t be bothering !

There is an official TVB eye catcher running at Wetherby – so I guess that’s something.

Secrete Stream runs in the novice chase at 12:55 - however, he only faces 3 rivals…
He ran a nice race on his seasonal debut at Carlisle – and if he can build on that, he has every chance of winning.

However, he’s a best priced 9/4 – and I really can’t get excited about that…

The only other race on the card that grabs me, is the bumper at 3:05 (which shows just how uninspiring it all is !).
In fairness, there are a few interesting runners in the race – headed by Jennifer Juniper and Oscar World.
The former is trained by Fergal O’Brien – and his recent strike rate in bumpers has been phenomenal: whilst the latter ran fourth on her debut in a Cheltenham bumper and this should be a fair bit easier…

That said, there are a few others of interest: particularly Dammit Janet, who is a very rare runner in the UK for Thomas Cooper – and Strawberry Spirit, for Amy Murphy.

I’m quite a fan of the Amy Murphy operation – with her runners generally still going under the radar.
Strawberry Spirit is an 11/1 shot this evening – and may be even bigger in the morning.
She’s the one that interests me most, at the prices…

There may be little of interest at Wetherby – but it’s even worse at Hereford and Punchestown !

In fact, the only other runner of interest that I can find on the day, is King’s Tempest.

He contests the opener at Hereford – and as some of you will recall, is the horse the that Warren Greatrex is relying on winning a race, to avoid him being shot !

I actually think he’s got a good chance of coming home in front tomorrow.
It’s a weak race: he’s having his first run over fences – sporting cheekpieces – and has Richard Johnson on the saddle.

There’s certainty sufficient to give cause for optimism – though Sydney de Baume and Sage Monkey could both prove troublesome rivals…

Aside from that however – it’s a day best left alone.

Hopefully Thursday will be better…

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Monday November 27th


As I said last night, it didn’t look easy to find bets today…

I tried to force a few at lunchtime, based on morning market moves – but that isn’t really the right way to do things.

A shortage of mid week tipping opportunities, was the main reason why I switched the focus of the main service to ‘Big’ races – and is why I cover the mid week races on this blog (just offering a few thoughts)…

The high light of the day turned out to be the victory of Brain Power.
I tipped him for the Arkle, a month ago, so I have been waiting for him to jump a fence in public – and thankfully, he didn’t disappoint.

I was a little concerned with his market weakness at lunchtime – but by the off he had been backed in to 1/2.

I suspect that was because neither of his main rivals actually wanted to beat him (it would have been disastrous for their handicap ratings !) – but he still had to do his part.

He fiddled a couple of fences – and was long at a few others – but overall, his jumping looked good.
Kempton is not as easy track to jump round – and he is very much work in progress – so in the circumstances, you had to be pleased.
Nicky Henderson was quite bullish about him post-race – which augurs well for the future.
His price for the Arkle was halved on the back of the run – with him now a best price of 10/1.

I suspect his main challenge will come from the other side of the Irish sea and I’ll be keeping a close eye on the Irish 2 mile novice chasers…

In the opener, Highway One O One got the better of the unexposed horses, who were  at the top of the market – but he was run out of things, by the horse who was quietly backed this morning…

The bottom line is that it’s very difficult to give away the 6lb winners penalty in these races – and he actually comes out the best horse in the race, at the weights.
However, he wasn’t first past the post (which is all that actually counts !).

I made Midnight Tour the Lunchtime Nap, on the back of a price drift this morning.
However, I think hers was a race where jockeyship made all the difference…

Richard Johnson grasped the nettle on Le Bague au Roi a long way from home and dictated his own fractions.
She’s a tough mare - and given the run of the race, she was always going to be hard to pass.

Meanwhile, Wayne Hutchinson got trapped behind horses, as the pace quickened rounding the home turn.
It probably cost Midnight Tour a couple of lengths - plus momentum.

The result may have been the same regardless – but the margin of victory certainly flattered the winner…

Finally, I found myself going round in circles with the handicap chase – and when that happens, it’s invariably best just to move on…

As it turned out, I was looking in completely the wrong place for the winner – as non of the horses I was interested in, featured at any point in the race…

I’m going to take tomorrow off – as there are just a couple of low key meetings at Sedgefield and Lingfield.

I plan to be back on Wednesday tho – so not too long to wait !

Lunchtime Update 

There have been some quite significant market moves this morning – and most of them not in the direction I was expecting ! (which always makes them interesting)…

In the opener, Highway One O one is very strong in the betting (in to 11/4 from 5/1) – suggesting his unexposed opponents may not be world beaters.
Further support is added to that theory, by the fact that the other well supported horse in the race, is relative outsider, Mister Malarky.

I now think that Highway One o One is likely to go very close…

Brain Power has been weak in the market for the novice chase.
Many of Nicky Hendersons runners have been needing an outing – and maybe that is  going to be the case with him as well.
I hope he’ll get away with it – but I certainly wouldn’t be piling in at 4/6…

Jers Girl has been very strong in the market for the mares hurdle race – but I think her price of 5/4 is now too short.
She has little in hand of Midnight Tour – yet that one can now be backed at 5/1 in places…

Finally, Favorito Buck’s has also been well backed in the handicap chase – again to a price which I think is too short (11/4).
There’s been no money for Gores Island (though I guess it could come late).

There has however been money for Forever Field – and that could be significant…

I was quite interested in him last time he ran, at Ludlow – but he was friendless in the market that day and ran accordingly.
He’s another one of Nicky Hendersons – so he may well have come on for that run.
Provided he doesn’t drift, close to the off, he’s the one I would be most interested in…

Lots of conflicting messages make choosing a Lunchtime Nap, difficult.
Highway One O One is now an option: as is Forever Field.
However, I’ve decided to go with Midnight Tour.
I can see no justification for such a drift – and she’s good value at 4/1 (or bigger)

Lunchtime Nap: Midnight Tour 2:00 Kempton (Fair Price 4/1)

Evening Preview

With Ayr lost to waterlogging, there are now just two meetings taking place tomorrow: at Kempton and Ludlow.

And in fairness, they are not bad meetings - for a Monday. Though finding any potential bets, isn’t easy..!

The better quality action takes place at Kempton - and there’s a TVB eye catcher running in the opening contest (12:50).

Highway One O One caught my eye when winning a maiden hurdle at Plumpton on his penultimate outing.
He’s since finished runner up to an unexposed horse at Fontwell – and it may be a similar story tomorrow…

When I suggested him as an eye catcher, it was in the hope that he would either be stepped up in class – or would run in a handicap.
Instead, he’s been asked to give weight away to completely unexposed horses, on both of his subsequent runs.

Whether he is able to do that, is a lottery – dependant on the ability of his rivals (which can’t be assessed).

Track, trip and ground should be fine for him tomorrow – and at 4/1, he’s almost an EW price. But whether he’ll be good enough to beat Burrows Edge, Potterman and Casterly Rock, is anyones guess…

In the second race on the card (1:20) Brain Power makes his eagerly awaited chasing debut…

He’s the third horse that I’ve tipped ante-post for the Cheltenham festival, to run in the past week or so – and if he can do as well as the first two (Apples Shakira and Lil Rockerfeller), then I’ll not be complaining !

As this will be the first time he’s jumped a fence in public, then everyone is guessing to an extent, with regard to how good he is.
However, he was borderline top class over hurdles – and has the size and scope to make an even better chaser.

It’s interesting that Nicky Henderson has chosen to start him in the same contest that Altior made his chasing debut.
Hopefully Brain Power can produce a novice season to match that of his illustrious stable companion !

As for tomorrow, then it won’t be easy, with both War Sound and Winter Escape, worthy adversaries.
That said, if he’s going to win an Arkle, he really needs to be brushing them aside - with contempt.

No pressure then !

The best race of the day, is the mares hurdle which takes place at 2:00.

I’ll be a bit surprised if the winner doesn’t come from the top 3 in the betting – even though all 3 are trying the trip for the first time.

Jers Girl and Midnight Tour are closely matched on ratings – and whilst Le Bague au Roi has about 7lb to make up on them, she may get the run of the race.

It’s not an easy one to call – but I suspect the market has it right, in making Irish raider Jers Girl the favourite.

I couldn’t really recommend backing her at 6/4 – but if she were to drift to beyond 2/1 tomorrow, then she would become interesting…

I can see myself struggling to find a Lunchtime Nap tomorrow (as was the case at the back end of last week).
In all probability, I will be looking to the handicap chase at 2:30.

I think a few of the runners can be eliminated – and Favorito Bucks appears the most likely winner to me, on the back of a promising run last time.

The other one to catch my eye, is Gores Island.
His recent form makes him risky - but he’s handicapped to just about win.

It’ll certainly be interesting to see what the market makes of his chances…